FW: New approach on University/schools issue


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WAGCEVP
September 25, 2003, 09:27 PM
FW: New approachon University/schools issue
Date: Sep 25, 2003 3:11 PM

-----Original Message-----
From: John
Sent: Thursday, September 25, 2003 9:30 AM
To:
Subject: New approachon University/schools issue


Friends- Today's Tribune reveals that (a) Judges are anti-gun rights (per AG Shurtleff) (b) legislative fix would be better than taking chances in courts (c) Mike Waddoups is preparing to run bill to specifically tell U to [shove it] and (d) Trib and anti-gun extremists are still looking to sucker the ignorant voters into stopping legal self defense somehow.
Is there anything we can do to drum up support for Waddoups and others on this issue?
John Spangler

http://www.sltrib.com/2003/sep/09252003/utah/utah.asp

Legislators may revisit gun issue





By Kirsten Stewart
The Salt Lake Tribune

Round 2 in the battle between Utah lawmakers and the University of Utah over the school's gun ban may be fought in the court of public opinion rather than a court of law.
Last month, just hours after 3rd District Judge Robert Hilder upheld the U.'s firearms ban, Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff recommended appealing the ruling to the Utah Supreme Court.
The appeal is still on track and is expected to be filed sometime next month. But Shurtleff says he will drop it if legislative leaders make good on their promise to pass a bill this winter countering the U.'s policy of the past 27 years that prohibits employees and students from bringing weapons on campus.
"Why appeal something if they're going to change the law and make the issue moot?" said Shurtleff.
Shurtleff also warned the Legislature's point man on guns that pressing the state's case in court is risky.
"He said the two judges involved have predispositions toward gun control," said Senate Majority Leader Michael Waddoups, R-Taylorsville. "He's judging the judges and I have to think he's pretty accurate, because I don't now how Hilder ever came up with his decision."
Shurtleff qualified his statements on Wednesday, saying, "I can't tell you how a judge is going to rule."
But he said Hilder and U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball, who earlier refused to rule on the university's lawsuit until a state court looked at issues of Utah law, have "tipped their hats on how they feel about guns."
"The Supreme Court could disagree with Hilder's ruling, but remand it back to his court. And Kimball still has jurisdiction over arguments touching on federal law," said Shurtleff.
University officials would prefer that the so-called friendly legal feud end with Hilder's ruling.
"Our desire all along was to have a definitive court ruling," said U. spokesman Fred Esplin. "It's been our opinion that we're within the law."
But Waddoups and at least one gun control advocate vow the real battle over guns in schools has just begun.
Waddoups is working on a bill to clarify provisions in Utah's concealed weapons law and firearms act that give the Legislature sole authority to enact gun laws.
Hilder reasoned that because those statutes were written to stop counties and cities from adopting conflicting gun rules, they "do not reach either the university's relations with its students, faculty or staff, or prohibit them from making regulations."
Waddoups' measure would stop "all state entities," including public colleges and schools, from making gun regulations. It would also carry penalties for institutions that violate the law.
Meanwhile, Marla Kennedy, head of the Gun Violence Prevention Center of Utah, is mustering support to outlaw guns in all schools.
Waddoups is a formidable opponent, she acknowledged. "If you want to slam dunk a gun rights issue, you take it to the Legislature."
But Kennedy said whether Waddoups prevails may depend on how far he is willing to push his agenda during an election cycle and in the face of public opinion polls showing 70 percent of Utahns believe schools should be gun-free.
"Pretty soon, I would hope the general public would stand up and say we've had enough and we won't re-elect you," she said.
Waddoups said until "schools can keep the bad guys with guns out, it's wrong to stop the good guys."
If that's true, argued Kennedy, why is Waddoups singling out schools?
"Right now under the law, private property owners don't have the right to restrict guns, including Brigham Young University and the Delta Center. But Waddoups hasn't made an issue of their gun bans," said Kennedy. "His legislation singles out one group -- school children -- a group that doesn't have any money to give anyone and doesn't have a voice."
Kennedy also slams Shurtleff for supporting the Legislature's pro-gun agenda.
"Shurtleff won't appeal because he knows he has a better chance of clearing up this issue in a Republican controlled and gun-rights weighted Legislature than he ever does in a court," she said.
Shurtleff counters, "This has nothing to do with whether there ought to be guns on campus. It's about who has the right to determine whether guns are allowed. I'm defending the law."
He also has pledged to help Waddoups draft his legislation.
kstewart@sltrib.com

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Standing Wolf
September 25, 2003, 10:00 PM
Waddoups said until "schools can keep the bad guys with guns out, it's wrong to stop the good guys."

This may be an extreme position, but I personally believe children's lives are just as worthy of being defended as adults'.

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